Tiger Woods met with the media Monday for the first time since undergoing back surgery seven weeks ago to alleviate pain from a pinched nerve. On the big question of when he plans to return to play golf, Woods says “It’s not going to be up to me whether I play or not,” adding that it was up to his doctors.
The theme for the news conference was, essentially, there is no timetable for Woods’ return. He says that he has come to the realization that there is no date set for his return to competitive golf, and that he must “take it on a daily basis.” Woods has not been able to hit any full shots, limiting his practice time in the past few weeks to chipping and putting. It appears that there is no chance he will play next month at the US Open in Pinehurst, NC. The next major would be the British Open in July.
Woods met the press Monday at Congressional Country Club, the same day that Adam Scott supplanted him as No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Congressional is where the Quicken Loans National PGA Tour event, which benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation, will be held in June. Woods’ said he missed the game and misses just being out on the golf course. “We are going to take it slowly,” he said, adding that he did not know how many weeks he would continue at his pace of simply chipping and putting. He said he wants to play today but that was not realistic. So, re-enforcing a mantra common to the conference, he is “just taking it step by step.”
Tiger Woods has not played golf since the WGC Cadillac Championship in March, in which he contended until a final round 78. He was clearly pained by his back in that tournament, going the entire final 18 holes without a birdie and ending up 25th in the field. He then pulled out of the Arnold Palmer Invitational and later withdrew from the Masters because of the back surgery.
Youngster qualifies for US Open – Lucy Li, an 11-year from Redwood Shores, CA, has played her way into the field for the 2014 Women’s US Open on June 19 at Pinehurst, NC. Li made golf history Monday, shooting 74-68 to win the 36-hole sectional qualifying tournament at Half Moon Bay by seven shots.
The sixth-grader, from the suburbs south of San Francisco, is the youngest player to ever qualify for the golf tournament, and already has a resume filled with accomplishments. Li won her age group at the initial Drive, Chip and Putt championship at Augusta National on the Sunday before the Masters. She also qualified for the US Women’s Amateur Publinks Championship last year, losing in the first round.
The youngest player to qualify for the US Women’s Open before Li was Lexi Thompson, who qualified at the age of 12 in 2007. Thompson is one of the players Li named on her list of favorites she submitted before the Drive, Chip and Putt competition.
Even though she is the youngest player to qualify for the tournament, Li is still not the youngest player to play in the US Women’s Open. 10-year-old Beverly Klass played in 1967, but that was before there were qualifying tournaments.
Golf Shots is a daily series which provides analysis and commentary on the PGA Tour and golf-related topics all year long.
Commentary by Chuck Podhaisky